Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PW Woman: Braised Short Ribs

One of this month's Sweet As Pie Cooking Club's recipes is Braised Short Ribs, from the the Pioneer Woman blog.

I bought the ingredients -- minus the short ribs, and I forgot the fresh rosemary and thyme and shallots -- about a week-and-a-half ago.  So maybe all I really bought was the pancetta. 

Mick ate it.

So I sent him to Kroger last week (the same trip where he bought the giant cabbage), and he got the short ribs.

But I didn't have all the other stuff.

Finally, after debating, denying, deferring, freezing them before they went bad, and then thawing the ribs, we made them yesterday.  I promised Marie and Cindy they could come eat them when we made them (we were going to do them Sunday, but -- surprise -- WHM was sick), but I was desperate for a dinner idea for last night, and the ingredients were all here.  And I probably would have punted again, but I didn't want the pancetta or the herbs to go bad and then go to waste.  And I justified this decision by telling myself that the past two times we've had Jim and Marie over for a PW recipe, it's not been the best "test kitchen" experience. 

So I quietly made the ribs yesterday, as a test-run, if you will.  They were delicious.  But good thing we didn't invite anyone over, because I completely forgot to make a side.  In the blog the ribs are shown with mashed potatoes, but I made some killer mp's to eat with our corned beef, so I was a little potato'd out.  And when I dismissed the potato idea in my head, somewhere with that went the idea of any side.

It worked out fine, though -- the ribs and the "sauce" it made were hearty enough to work.

Braised Short Ribs

Verdict:  Very good.  Time-consuming prep, but easy.  But for a group, make a lot more than 8 ribs.  And don't forget the side. 
Cook it Again:   Yes.
Cost Factor:  Costly, both for the ribs and because it calls for fresh stuff (shallots, thyme, rosemary) that we don't always have in the house.

I'm mostly going to show photos here, because I took a gazillion.

My helpers.  They wanted to try a little of everything, so I let them.  Even the flour. 

Rendering up the pancetta.  This is before I smoked up the entire downstairs.  Whoops.
About the only thing we did differently from the PW recipe is that Mick bought "flanked" beef short ribs, which means they were cut long-ways, instead of with each rib bone.  (You can see what I mean in the photos, I hope.)  I ended up basically stacking them side-by-side in the stock pot, and it worked fine.

The short ribs.  See how it says "flanken?"  Mick bought three of these packages.  It was perfect.
These are the ribs with the salt and pepper on them.  I was liberal with both the salt and pepper -- perhaps too much so.  But nothing was inedible.

Less than half the dredged ribs.  

WHM decided it was time to mess with my phone.


The crisped pancetta.  Well, what was left of it.  I ate about 2/3 of it.  Soooo good.  Chef's snacks!
Because we had the flanken ribs, they took less time to sear than the stockier ribs would have, but we had more of them.  It was probably a wash, time-wise, but I ended up needing a touch more oil towards the end of the batch.

The veggies and wine, after the ribs were seared.

Just because it's silly.  Nice boogers.

BEFORE going into the oven ...

At the top of the PW recipe it says to allow 20 minutes for prep and 2 hours to cook.  WRONG!  Later in the recipe, it says to cook 2 1/2 hours, plus an additional 45 minutes.  So, my dear cooking club members, be aware that if you make this you probably need a solid 4 hours lead time.  I started prepping at 3ish and we ate around 7.   Side note:  I know this is just from the blog and not from a (theoretically) proofed cookbook, but I've noticed these kinds of inconsistencies a fair amount, and I've learned to read the recipe through at least twice before planning what/when to cook. 

Almost three hours later!  Those white-ish things?  The ribs! The meat fell off!  Sooo yummy.

See what I mean about it being stew-like? Definitely hearty enough to eat alone, but over potatoes (or rice, even) would be/would have been awesome. 

Oh -- one last thing.  I used the web-version of the recipe rather than the printed one.  (That's why you see the iPad in the top photo.)  I liked having the various photos along the way so I could see what she was doing, rather than just following the recipe.  The step-by-step descriptions are richer and more conversational, and for this kind of recipe that was helpful. 


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